Watson Creek Fire in Lake County increases to 8,500 acres
PAISLEY, Ore. – The Watson Creek Fire remained active overnight and throughout the day, growing to approximately 8,500 acres. Fire crews continue to struggle with difficult terrain, access, and the dense accumulation of standing dead and downed material on the ground.
The fire was reported Wednesday afternoon approximately 15 miles west of Paisley and is currently burning on the Fremont-Winema National Forest Paisley Ranger District.
Firefighter safety remains an issue due to numerous hazard trees and standing snags.
Low visibility in the area remains a concern for firefighting aircraft working the fire.
Breezy northwest winds may affect the spread of the fire, possibly causing the fire spread to shift to the east and southeast. No thunderstorms are predicted in the area today.
Resources assigned to the fire include two fixed wing Air Attack platforms, four helicopters, 14 engines, 8 water tenders, 4 dozers, four 20-person crews, two faller modules, and approximately 100 personnel. A lead plane and heavy air tankers may be available as visibility allows.
Cooperators include Oregon State Police, rural fire districts and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.
Northwest Team 6, a Type II Incident Management Team was briefed this morning and will be taking over command of the fire at 6:00 this evening.
Due to the fire situation road closures and evacuations are in place.
The Fremont-Winema National Forest has a formal closure order referenced as Order Number 06-02-03-18-02. This closure includes restricting access to several roads and recreation sites in the area.
Access to the east side of the Fremont-Winema National Forest using Forest Roads 2901, 29, 3315 and 33 is unavailable due to road closures and fire activity.
The Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area is still open, but Forest Road 34 north of Corral Creek Campground is closed extending to Forest Road 28 to the junction with Forest Road 33.
On the western edge of the fire area, Forest Road 30, commonly known as Silver Creek Marsh Road, is closed approximately 3 miles from the Forest boundary and Road 3411, commonly known as Thomas Road, is closed at the Forest boundary.
Numerous recreation sites in the area are also closed as a result of the fire activity.
Recreation site closures:
- Bald Butte Lookout
- Bear Creek Trailhead
- Campbell Lake Campground
- Chewaucan Crossing Campground
- Currier Guard Station
- Currier Horse Camp
- Currier Trailhead
- Dead Horse Lake Campground and Trailhead
- Fremont National Recreation Trail #160 between Chewaucan Crossing Campground and Dead Indian Rim
- Fremont Point Cabin
- Fremont Point Trailhead
- Hanan/Coffeepot Trailhead
- Hanan/Sycan Campground and Trailhead
- Harris Trailhead
- Jones Crossing Campground
- Lee Thomas Campground and Trailhead
- Marster Spring Campground
- North Fork Sprague Trailhead
- Pikes Crossing Campground
- Rock Creek Campground
- Sandhill Crossing Campground
- Slide Lake Trailhead
- Winter Rim Trailhead
- Withers Lake Day Use Area
- Withers Lake Trailhead
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Communty and firefighter safety is the number one priority for all South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) employees. The public is asked to avoid the fire area and to be aware of increased fire traffic in local communities.
Every fire can appear different visually depending on the amount of vegetation and how long fire has been historically absent from the area. This includes wildfires and prescribed fires.
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